Thursday, March 26, 2015

Red Lobster

Red Lobster Logo Kenneth Watrous is my name. All the opinions here are mine. They also apply only to the places I have tried in Las Vegas.

Red Lobster may not be the cheapest place to take the family to dinner. It may not be the fanciest. But it is the best consistent experience with seafood you can find. The distribution network does a good job of keeping things fresh and the whole chain is more seasonal than other sit-down places. They are also really kid friendly and I always know that the family will be taken care of and it will be a good evening for everyone. The staff is used to working with children and the activity books are themed and the children’s menu has the right amount of samples of seafood and traditional food like mac and cheese and burger and fries. The kids can try something new but you know they will have enough of what they like that they won’t be complaining they are hungry an hour later. And that is important to me for having a family outing.

The décor is kept nice and the lights are just low enough to show the kids this is a serious place. I’ve been in several and all are kept in great shape and look used but not worn. I also like that there is always someone working on cleaning. Even with the cleaning it never smells like cleaning, just like food. Be it a part of the floor or the bar or the tables, there is a business to a good Red Lobster that makes you feel like it is a place where work gets done and nobody has to be totally on their toes. You can hear people talking and having their own dates and evenings. You don’t have to feel like if you cough too loud that everyone will be looking at you.

Now for the food. The food is heavy on the surf-and-turf style of seafood. Like the kid’s menu, there is room for the picky eater who is new to seafood and the hardcore fan both. I can get a steak and lobster combo or go all out on a nothing but different types of crab. The seasonal specials are also made to be a deeper experience. If you pick up a lobster tail here and there through the year it will give a solid taste, but during events and specials you can pick up something a little more exotic or made for a particular flavor. This is where I like Red Lobster the most, this idea that seafood is for everyone and it works hard to demonstrate the many ways it can be eaten.

The other thing I like about the food is the portion sizes. The portions are big enough to really fill you up, and they have all sorts of all-you-can-eat items through the year if you really want to double down on something. But the portions are also big enough that if you want to stay a bit longer and take some home for later that you don’t feel like you are taking home just the last two bites. Seafood in general doesn’t always keep, but some items do. I like to hit the lighter fish and things like lobster hard and save the potatoes, fries, or pasta for later. When I’m feeling like I will take something home. Otherwise I just kill the plate, and enjoy the time.

The drink selection is also good. They offer cocktails, mocktails, beer, wine, soda. Something for everyone. They are also pretty good on refills of most non-alcohol things. Some places get stingy when it comes to anything that isn’t soda, but the Lobster likes to keep everyone happy. The desserts are also a good section of ideas. I don’t do a lot of dessert, but I like that if I have a feeling for something they usually have a version of it. From cake to pie to different ice cream ideas. It makes for a good birthday or celebration place because you can order different sizes of some items as well so you can get a whole cake or pie if you want to do a party.

That’s what I think. Maybe you think different. 

-Kenneth Watrous
Find more about me on or follow me on twitter at @KennethWatrous   

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Why seafood?

I’ve always loved food. And my favorite food for a long time (since I can remember) is seafood. It is a bit strange to like seafood when I have lived so much of my life in a place that is both landlocked and a desert. But that is just a thing people think. The states of Nevada and Utah are actually well known for their seafood because they have excellent deals with daily shipments from the coasts. And in Las Vegas, food is above par to many places because it is such a resort kind of town. There are so many different styles and types of food here that anything can be found.
What I have learned to love most about seafood is the variety and versatility. The oceans touch so many places on the earth. And each country, region, and coastal town has found something different they want to do with the daily catch. This makes for such a great difference in the flavors for even the same ingredients. I think this is also what has pushed me to think about making food reviews. I have a lot of opinions on it!
Seafood is about immediacy and it is about good times. It is a special treat meant to be shared. The sea shanty and the pub tune are both long favorites of the sailing communities that celebrated the catch at the end of the day. I am drawn to so much of the culture and customs around seafood.
I don’t have enough to say about what pairs with the food. But I think that’s because I’m a regular work-a-day soul. I like what I like, and I enjoy the life I can create. I don’t have time to figure out what I’m “supposed” to be doing. I’m just going to go out there and do it!
I hope that a regular guy like me talking about food will appeal to others. They can read something from someone who gets what it is to come off a week of 10 hour shifts in the sun and want to have a few hours to prove it was all worth it. That is another thing, seafood is comfort food. It might not be that center of the road comfort of meat and potatoes, but it is the meat and potatoes of so many places. The south has its crawfish ettouffe, and the north has its cod and spuds. The west coast likes to dabble in sushi fusion and the east coast brought us the joy of butter sauces.
When I sit down to eat I like to think about the décor, but not much. I like things to be well-used, I don’t need it perfect, I just need it to be friendly and homey. I want a place where the workers appreciate that I also work. I don’t give them a hard time and they know I am going to treat them as well as they treat me. I’m a sucker for niceties like a chef’s table or tasting menu. I like when the place offers extras and incentives. Some of the chain restaurants do a great job with marketing and loyalty cards that help you feel, even to a big company, like you matter, like they see you as a regular and not just a number.
I hope that if you read this far you will keep with me. I’m going to tell you what I like, what I don’t like. And why. I hope I can convince you to get out there and try some food and maybe I’ll even inspire some others to sit down for a night and pound out a list of their own favorite foods. I look forward to being part of a community of eaters and sharers. For now, get ready to eat!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

About me

Hi! My name is Kenneth Watrous. I grew up in Las Vegas. Well, after my family moved here when I was seven. I haven't ever wanted to be anywhere else.

I met my wife here and we're raising a beautiful family. We like to do outdoorsy things  together. Camping, hiking, fishing, you name it. We go off the beaten path or stay close to home, depending on our mood.

 When I'm not working to put up and take down expos and events here in Vegas, and we're not doing something outside, we're finding a new seafood place. Give me some crab or lobster and I'm a happy man.